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Five Love Songs
for soprano and baritone
total duration: 8 minutes
1. The Admission
2. To Dorothy
3. Being in Love
4. Whatever We...
5. Five Oh's
The Admission
If you love me,
say so.
Snow piles; bridges burn
behind me; I
imagine
that I am alone
and have not
turned toward you so
before. I forget
openings I had not thought of
turning toward,
to tell you, and to tell you
to tell me.
  The surroundings affect us;
it is a cause
for love
that you call it
something logical,
taking pleasure in
our finding
ourselves here.
Tell me landscapes
are frames of mind.
I believe words have meaning.
No gift will do.
Tell me what it means
to you.
1. The Admission
2. To Dorothy
3. Being in Love
4. Whatever We...
5. 5. Five Oh's
To Dorothy
You are not beautiful, exactly.
You are beautiful, inexactly.
You let a weed grow by the mulberry
and a mulberry grow by the house.
So close, in the personal quiet
of a windy night, it brushes the wall
and sweeps away the day till we sleep.
  A child said it, and it seemed true:
"Things that are lost are all equal."
But it isn't true. If I lost you,
the air wouldn't move, nor the tree grow.
Someone would pull the weed, my flower.
The quiet wouldn't be yours. If I lost you,
I'd have to ask the grass to let me sleep.
1. The Admission
2. To Dorothy
3. Being in Love
4. Whatever We...
5. Five Oh's
Being in Love
with someone who is not in love with
you, you understand my predicament.
Being in love with you, who are not
in love with me, you understand my dilemma.
Being in love with your being in love
with me, which you are not, you understand

the difficulty. Being in love with your
being, you can well imagine how hard it is.

  Being in love with your being you,
no matter you are not your being being in
love with me, you can appreciate and pity
being in love with you. Being in love

with someone who is not in love, you know
all about being in love when being in love
is being in love with someone who is not
in love being with you, which is
being in love, which you know only too well,
Love, being in love with being in love.

1. The Admission
2. To Dorothy
3. Being in Love
4. Whatever We...
5. Five Oh's
Whatever We Were
Going to Tell Each Other
Won't Mean As Much

You were brushing your hair.
Interminably, you brushed your soft hair.
How could you know what it was doing to me?
You knew. You kept brushing your hair.

 

I watched. I watched. I turned away,
hearing the sound of your hairbrush
soften as your hair found its place,
very like the sound of a rough hand on a dress.

How could you know I went on listening?
You knew. Even when you were finished,
you kept on brushing. Even when it was over,
you kept on brushing. You knew. You knew.

1. The Admission
2. To Dorothy
3. Being in Love
4. Whatever We...
5. Five Oh's
Five Oh's
Five oh's are but a single line of our life together.
Five ah's but a moment of our peace.
Five eureka's cannot contain what you have taught me.
Five aha's cannot express our expectations.
There are five ouch's for every oops!
And five oops's for every please.
And five please's for every don't.
And most of all, a dozen wills for every won't.
  Love, you and I are more than one plus one.
Though we are two, two too is too few.
Love has defeated reason by all who tried.
No, we are like an hourglass upon its side.
It seems that one and one at times make three.
We overlap throughout Eternity.
A thousand oh's could not bespeak our wooing.
True love's surprised to know just what it's doing.
All cited poems are used with permission; © Marvin Bell; Music: © 2011 David Gompper
Program Notes
This cycle, completed at a Copland House residency during December 2011, was written for a recital of works, by the composer, on texts by the poet Marvin Bell. Tony Arnold and John Muriello premiered this composition on February 19, 2012 at the University of Iowa. It is dedicated to my friends and colleagues Judith and Richard Hurtig.

Performances
-University of Iowa, March 12, 2014
-Viterbo University (Wisconsin), March 10, 2014
-St. Ambrose College, March 4, 2014
-Drake University, March 2, 2014
-Illinois Wesleyan University, January 26, 2014
-University of Iowa, February 19, 2012 (Arnold, Muriello, Gompper)